Things That Go Bump In The Night – A Sleep Procrastinator

Things That Go Bump In The Night – A Sleep Procrastinator

As a usual night owl surviving solely off the golden elixir known to mankind as coffee, I often find myself wide-eyed and jittery legged at what most people would consider unruly hours of the day – or more, the night.

The very same people would take a glimpse at the drooping bags under my eyes and instantly tell me that I desperately need to fix my sleep schedule. And while they might be right, I think it’s only fair that I get a chance to defend myself, and in turn, my fellow owlets.

It no longer fazes me when I lazily gaze up from a riveting book only to find it is, yet again, well past the time I told myself I would go to bed. The house would go deadly quiet, and I would think – Ah, well… One more page can’t hurt.

My reasoning is fairly simple: Now is the only time I get to myself when I can focus on activities I had to ignore during the day. I couldn’t do them earlier, but surely now, with minimal distractions and the rest of the world asleep, I’ll finally have enough time for myself.

Is it accurate? No. What it is, is procrastinating.

Researchers call it bedtime procrastination or while-in-bed procrastination, but the Chinese word for is superior, translating to “revenge bedtime procrastination”. Whatever you want to call it, it tends to bubble this concoction of anxiety and excitement within me.

This – along with what researchers like to call lack of self-regulation – makes me a prime example of a sleep procrastinator.

Alessandra Edwards, a performance expert, says that revenge bedtime is more common than you would think, especially in people who often times feel like they have little to no control over their time and are looking for a way to reclaim some personal time for themselves, even if it means wrecking their sleep schedule.

It’s like self-care without the self-care.

“When it comes to the evening, they categorically refuse to go to bed early, at a time they know will suit them best and enable then to get adequate restorative sleep and feel better,” Edwards went on to explain. “Nevertheless, there is a sense of retaliation against life, so there is an idea of revenge to stay awake and do whatever fills their bucket.”

If push comes to shove, and you notice revenge bedtime procrastination is beginning to affect your health and well-being, there are a few things you could try to prevent it:

1. Make time for yourself and let loose for a while: “Choose an activity that’s pleasurable and enjoyable, and that’s actually going to support your mental health or resilience in the face of stress,” said Wendy Troxel, a senior behavioral scientist with the RAND Corporation.

2. Cut back on your schedule: “Don’t waste your time in useless meetings or with obligations that you really don’t care for,” said Christine Li, a clinical psychologist and anti-procrastination coach in New York.

3. Set a pre-bedtime alarm: “Think of this as your ‘power-down hour’,” said Lauri Leadley, a clinical sleep educator. When it goes off, it’s time to start your bedtime routine.

The days can be long, and the workload might thunder down on you at times, but at the end of the day, sleep is precisely what you need. It’s what your body needs to recharge itself to take on the trials of the next day. If you’re a fellow night owl, then do what I should’ve done a long time ago and understand that your body will tell you when it needs a break, and when it does, it would benefit you to listen.

Zoya Siddiqui

Zoya is a fledgling journalist with a natural penchant for wordsmithery and a soft corner for environment and wildlife. A literature student, she contributes articles on history, environment and latest fads.

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